September Update

Dear Friends,

As floods hit parts of the UK, damaging homes and transport links, let us reflect on the far greater destruction which regularly strikes Iraq and those who live there. This month in FRRME we have been, yet again, attempting to ebb the flow.

Council of Peacemakers

On the 24th September, Sheikh Khaled al-Mulla, the leading Sunni Cleric in Baghdad, met with the ministers of Baghdad’s Protestant churches. At this meeting, Sheikh al-Mulla suggested that a Council of Peacemakers be formed which would meet every month and involve those present, as well as other key Sunni, Shia and Christian leaders. The council would focus not on differences but on how to work together for a better Iraq, both issuing authoritative statements and working to implement them practically.

Joint Christian-Muslim Declaration regarding the Mohammed Film

On the 25th September, Christian, Sunni and Shia leaders met to issue a statement condemning the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’.

We as Christian and Muslim leaders in Iraq totally condemn the recent film criticising Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). We as Christians and Muslims call for all to respect the religion of others and to hold it in highest regard. Having been working together for several years we now declare the establishment of the Iraqi Council of Peacemakers that will meet each month in our desire to overcome all sectarianism and demonstrate our unity.

The declaration was signed by Sayed Jawad Al Khoie (Shia), Sheikh Khaled al Mulla (Sunni), Canon Andrew White (Anglican), Pastor Farouk (Presbyterian) and many others.

Visits from Archdeacon and Open Doors

Canon Andrew White, Baghdad, Iraq - FRRMEThis month Archdeacon Bill Schwartz visited Baghdad. He was able to meet with various Sunni and Shia leaders on International Peace Day, and met with other Christian Canon Andrew White, Baghdad, Iraq - FRRMEleaders to talk about how they can work together, both of which helped to foster unity in Baghdad. He was also able to visit people’s homes and attend services at the church.

We also received a visit from four Open Doors workers. They were able to discuss the situation for Christians in Iraq with the Christian Minister of the Environment and see the hardships of St George’s poor families.

The Death Toll Increases

Terrorist bombings in September 2012This month experienced yet another day of mass killing in Iraq. The Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi was convicted of orchestrating large scale violence in a politically charged case, leading to accusations that Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Mailiki is monopolizing power. This was met by increased Sunni attacks around Iraq; Sunday 9th September saw the deaths of over one hundred people.

The publication of the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ has also led to an escalation of tensions. Many Christians have gone into hiding for fear of reprisals. Pray that God will keep them safe and that further violence will not ensue.

Construction of the Church Toilet Block

St George’s is now in the process of constructing a much needed toilet block. The block even has the luxury of being attached to a sewage system. (Many in Baghdad do not have access to this modern convenience). It is hoped that all work will be complete by the beginning of October.

October Prayer Diary

The prayer diary is now available to download and join us in interceding for Andrew’s work and the work of FRRME in the Middle East during October.

Senior Sunni Clerics issue fatwa against sectarian violence

The Fatwa


In the name of God the Merciful.

Under the conditions experienced by Iraqis and many Middle Eastern people at the present time and in the light of the increase in the level of Iraqi sectarian violence and the volatile situation, we believe that the deteriorating political condition calls upon us as Sunni religious scholars to together as a group to issue a Fatwa.

We wish to declare the sanctity of all Iraqi blood wether Shia, Sunni or Christian. We call for a mechanism to educate the Iraqi Society in order to renounce all sectarian violence and instead create an environment of cooperation with civil society organizations and institutions of civil jurisdiction so not to allow our people in Iraq to divide into sectarian conflicts. We must work towards national unity amongst all Muslims (Sunni and Shia) and Christians; we all have the duty and right to live together in unity in our country Iraq.

Dr Sheikh Khaled Abdul-Wahab Mullah, Leader, Sunni Cleric Baghdad & Basrah
Shekh Saadi Mehdi Qutaiba Alindaoui, Sunni Leader Al Anbar
Sheikh Maher Al Jubori, Sunni Cleric Fullujah
Dr Sheikh Kubaisi Jalal, Sunni Cleric Rammadi
Sheikh Marwan Al Araji, Sunni Cleric Baghdad
Sheikh Hasham Al Dulami, Sunni Cleric Fullujah

Insights from Sarah Ahmed, Director of Operations
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